Last week we sent out an email to our subscribers asking how freelancing helps you find freedom, and what that means to you. As you know, Henry and I use our freedom to travel and create adventures—but it can be anything you want it to be.
Our main motivation for creating a freelance business was being able to do what we wanted, when we wanted, where we wanted. Since we started this journey, we’ve met a ton of other freelancers that say the very same thing. However, we noticed that each one of us interprets this freedom a little differently.
Maybe it’s being able to cook amazing meals at home so you can have more energy, like Austin.
Maybe it’s working with a sophisticated client in your flannel PJ’s, like Sabreen.
Or maybe it’s being able to tell a client to pound sand when they are being douchebags, like Vonster.
This is why we take risks, make mistakes, and fumble to find our way freelancing. We don’t want to just be a design technician for someone, we want to live creatively curious lives too.
So get your read on and be inspired by what 18 creative mavericks have to say about their freedom! (P.S. Henry did a great job making everyone’s submissions look ace!)
Location: Bay Area
So mainly it allows me to be as healthy as possible, which starts with food and sleep. I cook amazing meals from home and don’t eat out – eating so well gives me a shit ton of energy…if i worked a 9-5, I wouldn’t have the time or energy for this…likewise sleep, i sleep for 8-9 hrs and can nap if I don’t get that. Again, this translates to having a shit ton of productive energy. This productive energy is invested in client work as well as new skills and entrepreneurial ventures. Meaning while my peers are slaving away at a 9-5, I’m studying meteor.js in hopes of making a great product and getting rich. That’s the main thing. Apart from that, not having a boss breathing down my neck conversely makes me more productive, as I feel like i am the impetus for quality work, not the pockets of a company. And then general freedom: I can go on a trip or go fishing whenever I want.
Agustian Eko Saputro
Becoming a freelancer bring many opportunities in my life. First of all, I have much freedom in organizing my time. I can decide whether I have to work or I take a rest. However, this freedom does not make me ignore the professionalism in work. In fact I have more courage to become a professional worker and develop my ability. Then, I have more flexible time to friends and family, it makes my social life easier. Further, I do not feel bounded. Thus I can more enjoy in doing my job.
Location: All over the place!
I love what I do. And I love that I can do it from wherever I want. While it has taken time to build the right network, my biggest discomfort lies in saying ‘no’ to any client. That is when I have to remind myself about the biggest plus point of being a freelancer – the choice to be choosing the kind of work, to get involved in. Other than that – I love jumping on my Yoga mat whenever I feel like, and working with the most sophisticated clients in my flannel pjs : )
Location: Pacific Northwest
I think one of the important aspects of working on your own as a freelancer is admitting it’s not for everyone. Meaning many people just don’t have the self discipline or organizational skills to do it efficiently as a full time job.
One word describes why I chose to work as a freelancer: Freedom.
- Freedom to work when I want to work. Might be 8am to 5pm but I could chose to work from 8pm to 5am.
- Freedom to work on what I want to work on. If the client doesn’t feel right than I don’t care how much they pay I won’t do it.
- Freedom to not work at all. Sometimes inspiration is on vacation. So I take that as a sign I should be too. I’ll go watch a movie, garden, write, hang out with a friend or family.
- Freedom to charge what ever I think is fair and reasonable, or pull a client aside and explain to them why they are making a poor decision.
- Freedom to choose to work with a non-profit and donate my work, or donate my time.
- Freedom to spend a whole day working on my own art project for no good reason than being creative.
- Freedom to work hard and control my own financial freedom.
- Freedom to say yes to opportunity because I control my time and work flow.
- Freedom to listen to audio books, watch movies, listen to podcasts or other so-called distractions while working.
- Freedom to tell a client to go pound sand because they are douche bags.
- Freedom to refine my own creative process and work the way I prefer.
- I like my creative freedom.
That sums it up for me.
Location: London / Melbourne
Freelancing has given me the freedom pack up my entire life and fulfil two of my dreams: moving in Australia, and getting to set up my own studio space. So now not only do I get to work with amazing clients but get to explore the world at the same time!
Location: Dallas, TX
Freelance freedom means living life on my terms. The ability to do the things I want to do, with the people that matter most to me. The growth and income opportunity is limitless. You no longer have to rely on some suit to tell you what you’re worth, slaving away to make someone else’s dreams come true. A wise man once said, “Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday you said tomorrow. So just do it” – Shia LaBeouf. Don’t wait for your “opportunity” for success, go out there and MAKE IT. You only get one life to live, so make the most of it.
Location: Mexico City, MX
I value freedom as one priority in my life. I like to choose who I work with and what I do it for. I like to choose where to be and never stop to wonder. I like to manage finances at my own will, working when it’s needed and when it’s not. Basically, freelance and freedom are the only way I’m able to do things that matter.
Location: Eagan, MN
This is what freelance freedom means to me. My son was born March 28, 2015, 3 1/2 months early. I have been able to work every day from his room in the NICU. He is been through a lot and will hopefully come home at the end of September. I never really appreciated the freedom until now.
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Canada
When you can finally enjoy a work/life balance, take time for your health, and most importantly, when you’re able to get out and explore… you’ve found freelance freedom.
Location: Demak, Indonesia
By freelancing, here’s what comes to my mind.
- finding my own mark. start by looking up at other designer artist, learning from them, and then make a twist here and there to be finally have my own style, and be proud of it.
- i can live my dream. do my hobbies and getting pay by doing it was just a dream. and now…freelancing is open that world up for me.
- i can push my self to work harder, work smarter than ever… meeting other colleagues that have same passions always give me a huge boost. there’s always a new things that learned by meeting and talking with them, even it was just an online course. #BrainSnack everyday ^_^
- and still, have fun while doing it. wohooo !!! ^_^
Location: Seattle, WA
Freelance freedom is the ability to work on your own terms. It allows you to set your own working terms while living a lifestyle of your choosing.
When you work in a 9-5 job, you can encounter a lot of creative boundaries due to the multiple channels of sign off. There are always the same colours, the same styles, the same process and the same outcomes. Although you always have to respect the existing brand guidelines, sometimes the restrictiveness can impede your progression as a designer. If you are freelancing while still in full time employment, you get the best of both worlds.
With freelancing, you can choose what you want to work on. Apart from the variety of projects, you can decide what is best for your own progression. Especially when you are early in your career. It gives you the opportunity to create brands from scratch, while you can apply what you have learned from current trends or from what you have worked on with a previous project. This creative freedom and selective progression really allows you to stretch your creative legs and gives you the chance to put a bit of your own personality into something that will mean the world to a client.
On occasion, I have been able to apply what I have learned and incorporate it into my daily work. Freelancing has presented me with the opportunity to create brands outside of my comfort zone and to keep my ideas fresh and engaging.
Location: Omaha, NE
Most assume that if you are “freelance” then you have a burning desire to be your own boss, or you are moonlighting between “steady” jobs. I my case, neither of those ring true. First, to avoid the negative connotations that come with the term, I stopped using the term “freelance” about a year into working from myself. I began to spin it positively and call myself an “independent creative consultant.”
Being independent has afforded my the time & space to do the things that make us creatives most effective. Truthfully, there is nothing more or less to it than that. We are respected, revered—and even envied at times—for the way we see the world and the way we operate, but for the corporate culture to utilize our skills and vision, constraints are placed on us for reason of conformity—to make everyone else feel comfortable with the behaviours of us creative types. I could never be expected to do my best work if someone is watching a clock to see if I came back from my 15 min break 30 sec late. The time and space to think, explore, sketch, expand, etc. will never be given in an environment where I was required to take my seat between this time and that time.
It is in that freedom that I actually became more responsible with my time. I became more aware of how I was working. Without constraints, I began to operate more diligently and purposefully; a fact that you could never get a “boss” or manager in an employment sense to understand. Because I am able to operate in a manner most conducive for myself, other opportunities opened up. I travel, work in other places, set meetings that make me a more flexible option for my clients and thus better customer service on my part. Strangely enough, I make a far better employee because of such freedoms… I just happen to be self-employed for the past 10 years.
Location: New York City
What kind of freedom or opportunities has freelancing provided for your life that you couldn’t otherwise have?
The only downside to freelancing (that I see) is that it’s not always a steady or predictable income. But, it is the ultimate flexibility, because it allows you to work on your own terms, your own pace (for the most part) and enjoy life to the fullest. If you’re persistent, you CAN get it to the point where it’s a steady income: don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
The photo attached is my ultimate freedom…there is nothing quite like it.
Location: Manila, Philippines
First of all, you’re awesome for finally pushing this. Second, I’m rooting for you! Hundreds and thousands of us all over the world are ;)
Okay, so freelance freedom. To me it sounds like a dream. A good kind of dream really, not the ones that are impossible. The kinds of dreams that are so real they hurt so bad. Freelance freedom is finding and working with clients that share the same values and vision that I do, not precisely, but at the very core at least. It’s about doing valuable passion-and-why-oriented work in exchange for rightful compensation as well. It’s the complete opposite of saying yes to uninspiring work just to pay the bills. To top it all off, I’d say it has a lot to do with mutual respect and trust and lots and lots of good sometimes belly-aching bliss.
Working for myself has allowed me tremendous freedom for being able to work from almost anywhere in the world. As an illustrator and consultant, all I need is a laptop and my graphics tablet, occasional internet connection, and I can work on projects from anywhere.
I’m currently in London, UK having spent 8 months in Saigon, Vietnam with plans to go back there soon. I also spent 9 months in Tokyo a couple of years ago. As long as you keep an eye on growing your business, marketing yourself, and keep the work you do location-independent, you can make it work.
My freelance life allows me to spend the days looking after my young daughter, climbing trees, playing with our chickens, growing our fruit and vegetables and making every day as magical as we can. In order to do this, as a single mum, I work every night, 8pm to 2am. My clients understand my hours and respect them. It is tiring, we just get by, and I long for the lie-in that never comes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My daughter won’t be a child forever and my freelance life has enabled us to walk through each day together and that’s amazing.
I’m looking forward to seeing NeverNorth evolve.
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Freelance has given me the freedom to work hard and enjoy life while doing it. I can honestly say that I love what I do, and there’s no limit to the opportunities ahead. I’m a maker of my own path, and that’s liberating. I only work on the projects I enjoy, my salary is only limited by my level of hustle, and my schedule is flexible enough to be there for my family whenever needed. There were many risks, mistakes, and opportunities along that way, but I’m grateful for those things and for the support I get. Because of those, I’m able to call myself a full-time freelance graphic designer.
Connect with the Community
A big part of finding your success as a freelancer is surrounding yourself with other people doing or achieving the same thing. These 18 creatives are paving the way. So whether you’re just getting started or already on your way, take a tiny action towards connecting with someone in the community today. Follow someone new on Twitter or Dribbble and send a tweet or leave a comment.
You never know what it could start.
What’s your freedom?
Join the conversation in the comments below and tell us what your freedom means to you.